from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To mix up or distort to such an extent as to make misleading or incomprehensible: She garbled all the historical facts.
  • transitive v. To scramble (a signal or message), as by erroneous encoding or faulty transmission.
  • transitive v. Archaic To sort out; cull.
  • n. The act or an instance of garbling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To sift or bolt, to separate the fine or valuable parts of from the coarse and useless parts, or from dross or dirt; as, to garble spices.
  • v. To pick out such parts of as may serve a purpose; to mutilate; to pervert; as, to garble a quotation; to garble an account.
  • v. To make false by mutilation or addition
  • n. refuse; rubbish
  • n. Impurities separated from spices, drugs, etc.; garblings.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Refuse; rubbish.
  • n. Impurities separated from spices, drugs, etc.; -- also called garblings.
  • transitive v. To sift or bolt, to separate the fine or valuable parts of from the coarse and useless parts, or from dros or dirt.
  • transitive v. To pick out such parts of as may serve a purpose; to mutilate; to pervert

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To sift or bolt; free from dross or dirt.
  • Hence— To pick out the fine or valuable parts of; cull out and select the best or most suitable parts or specimens of; sort out; select and assort, rejecting the bad or least suitable: as, to garble spices; to garble coins. See garbling the coinage, below. [Now only in technical use.]
  • To sort out parts of for a purpose, especially a sinister purpose; mutilate so as to give a false impression; sophisticate; corrupt: as, a garbled account of an affair; a garbled text or writing.
  • Synonyms Misquote, etc. (see mutilate); pervert, misrepresent, falsify.
  • n. Anything that has been sifted, or from which the coarse parts have been removed.
  • n. Refuse separated from goods, as spices, drugs, etc.: in the following passage applied to a low fellow. Compare trash in a similar use.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make false by mutilation or addition; as of a message or story


Middle English garbelen, to inspect and remove refuse from spices, from Anglo-Norman garbeler, to sift, and from Medieval Latin garbellāre, both from Arabic ġarbala, to select, from ġirbāl, sieve, from Late Latin crībellum, diminutive of Latin crībrum; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Anglo-Norman garbeler ("to sift"), from Medieval Latin garbellare, from Arabic غربل (ğárbala, "to sift"). (Wiktionary)


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